Voices of Black history

As Black History Month draws to a close for another year, we asked some leading UNISON Eastern Black activists on why this time of year is important to them.

A picture of Mo TsentidesBlack History Month is important to me because it’s a time I use to stop and reflect on how great it is to be Black, I am Black all the time and so BHM should be all the time, all year round. I live by  this.

BHM allows us to take ownership, an opportunity to unite both Black and white, an opportunity to educate, learn lessons past and present. It’s a time to celebrate our Black history, our contributions and our achievements.

And it’s a time to invest in our young people from all races, for it is them who will lead the way to a future that has a shared history at its core!

Mo Tsentides, Black members self-organised group co-chair

A picture of BrianBlack History Month is important to me because it provides for a time of reflection about the sacrifices and hardships felt by those who understood and put themselves in the forefront of the struggle for equality at great risk to themselves.

It is a reminder that the revolution never ends.

Brian Pereira, Black members self-organised group co-chair

A picture of FirdyBlack History Month is important to me because promoting black history to all provides the opportunity for people to share, celebrate and understand the impact of Black heritage and culture.

The recognition of contributions and achievements of those from African and Caribbean heritage, are bought to our present thoughts and remembered, as Black lives do matter.

Firdos Finch  

Black History Month is important to me because it creates an unequivocal platform for us to highlight and celebrate our heritage and journey to date.

We get a non-confrontational opportunity to educate and correct myths for our youths (all races) and adults especially our white relatives (mixed-race marriages), friends, colleagues, neighbours and the public in general.”

I am aware of the narration that it should happen as a matter of course all year round but that isn’t our reality.

In fact we can’t blame anyone for that, but ourselves. If we want the world to know, then we have to tell them! No one else will.

The institution will not do so on our behalf.  We have a story to tell; let us take the responsibility and consistently tell.  Not from a position of anger, but to correct and highlight how positive we are and how much we have contributed despite being disadvantaged.

Clive Roberts

A picture of OfodileBlack History Month is important to me because it’s a constant reminder of of the struggles of Black people but also their  immense contribution in society and this should never ever be forgotten.

Ofodile Neife

A picture of Glenn with his paramedic gearAs part of the Windrush dynasty I can still remember the words on posters and windows: ‘No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish.’

When I think of the struggles that my parents went through it still brings tears to my eyes.

Black History Month gives me the chance to reflect on my parents’ generation. Great strides have been made, but the struggles are still ongoing.

I hope that my parents’ generation, feel proud of what they and we have achieved so far as we acknowledge their strengths and sacrifices giving us the strength to continue

Glenn Carrington